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Title: And vs Or : apprentice footballers' understanding of identity and personal development
Author: McCready, C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 8507 063X
Awarding Body: Liverpool John Moores University
Current Institution: Liverpool John Moores University
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis is concerned with apprentice footballers' understanding of identity and Personal Development (PD). For those young footballers offered apprenticeships with professional football clubs aged 16, by the age of 21, five out of every six will be out of the game professionally (Professional Footballers Association, 2019). Rejection from such a career can lead to transition and adjustment issues due to the impact on identity (Lavallee, 2005, Gilbourne and Richardson, 2006, Roderick, 2006b, Brown and Potrac, 2009, Brownrigg et al., 2012). Personal Development (PD), defined through an emphasis for the continued growth of the whole person (Danish et al., 1993), not just the athlete, is one concept through which athletes are encouraged to develop their understanding of identity, beyond their athlete status, by engaging within practical activities outside of sport, whilst concurrently employed within sport (Stambulova et al., 2014). Study 1 of this thesis consisted of qualitative interviews with 12 apprentice footballers, to explore their understanding of identity and PD. Multiple players interpreted their club environments as encouraging them to view themselves as footballers, constantly, and become a 24hr (24/7) footballer. Concurrent to Study 1, a relationship formed with League Football Education (LFE) which led to the thesis occupying a lead role in the planning and delivery (Study 2, Part A) and evaluation (Study 2, Part B) of an informative workshop delivered to apprentice footballers for the 2015/16 season entitled My Future Today (MFT). The workshop aimed to support and develop apprentices' understanding of identity and PD. To achieve this, the MFT narrative was created to challenge the 24/7 narrative (Douglas and Carless, 2014). Study 2, Part B, consisted of qualitative interviews with 12 apprentice players who had attended MFT, to explore their understanding of identity and PD. Through MFT, interviewees' understanding of identity and PD was supported and developed, beyond that of the 24/7 footballer, during their career. Their understanding was underpinned in relation to their futures after football (i.e., appreciating the potential loss of identity that might accompany being released) and/or through a belief that this understanding would support them and their performances, as footballers, in the immediate sense. Indeed, empirical data suggested that the 24/7 approach was not seen as conducive to performance. The outcome of this understanding also resulted in numerous interviewees becoming more proactive in their post-apprenticeship transition planning.
Supervisor: Littlewood, M. ; Nesti, M. ; Richardson, D. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: GV561 Sports